Bug (1975) - full transcript

An earthquake releases a strain of mutant cockroaches with the ability to start fires, which proceed to cause destructive chaos in a small town. The studies carried out by scientist James Parmiter, however, reveal an intent with much more far-reaching consequences.

I'll be working late tonight.

Can somebody drive you home?

Oh, Mr. tacker will drive me home.

Jesus, it's so hot.

You can hardly catch your breath.

= hm.

Don't work too late.

You need your rest.

Mm hm.

You know, maybe I'd better
come back and pick you up.

Oh, don't be silly.

You'll be working.

= hm.

Well, you better go in.

You'll miss the show.

Oh, don't make fun.

Bye bye.


Brothers and sisters.

I want you to get out the
map of these United States.

An x on one will do.

And trace out the path of
hell soling these nation.

Our cities are in pain and torment.

The pestilence of Babylon is everywhere.

= you didn't miss much Carrie.

It's the same old song.

Just take a little red pencil,

of a riot or a murder or a rape.

The courage and basic
goodness of our lovely,

sun washed land is a wash...

Can I borrow your handkerchief, Henry?

Oh yeah.

200 years of accumulating virtue

my friends lie quivering
under the lashings of sin.

- Can I get a ride
- There's confusion.

Get a ride with you home tonight?

James is working.

Kenny's pickin' me up.
= the blood of Jesus.

- You can ride with us.
- Raging.

=t don't wanna be a bother.

- Oh, it's on our way.
- There are people

no trouble. - In this land

who once united - shh!

- As brothers and sisters.
- Shh!

The blood of Jesus mingles
with the hate and rage.

Where people in this
land where once united

as brothers and sisters.

Today, their lives are filled
with suspicion and hate.

They ask if god is dead.

Well every time you folks get a check

for the fruits of your labors,

you get a kiss from god.

That such a question should even be asked,

is an indication of how far
from god's gentle caress,

the hairy heads of our
children have wandered.

Stay calm folks!

Please, calm down and stay put.

You're safer that way.

= no time!

Oh my god!


T better call James.


Will you wait here for me?

Go ahead, I'll be outside.

Dad, dad!

Quake hit us real bad.

The place is all torn up.

Where is Norma and Tom?

They're okay.

They're waiting for us.

Let's go.

Part of the north
field cracked wide open.

I was in the house when it happened.

Tom went running out.

Dad, I was scared shitless.

Ah, come on.

Let's go.

There's gonna be another
one Tommy, I know it.

Usually the first one's the worst,

then it's just aftershock.

I've never seen anything like it.

The whole damn field is split open.

Where's daddy?

And Kenny?

Jesus, that's deep.

It never stops.

I wish dad and Kenny would get back here.

I know, the
quake hit the church.

Shit dad, it's dead.

Easy son, you're fluffin' it.

Come on, move over.

Let me get it started.



Oh no!


Daddy, no!

Oh, daddy!

Ti can't!

Kenny please!




Ah, shit!

Tom, when Norma wasn't
home I really got worried.

I was takin' her back to your place

and the car just stalled.

I couldn't get it started.

Honey, it's all right.

We'll get it started.

Dad and Kenny are dead.

I saw 'em and I couldn't do anything.

I just stood there watching it.

Oh met!

Met, take me back there please.

They need me.

Please take me back there.

Please met!
Okay, okay baby, okay.

You gonna take her back to the farm met?

You'll give us a ride won't you?

Yeah, yeah, okay.

- Oh please baby...
- Just hang on to me baby.

Just hang on.

I couldn't do anything.

We were sitting here
eating when it happened.

I tell ya, I never heard

such a noise in all my life.

The whole damn place started to shake.

Honey, why don't you try
and get some sleep, okay?

Come on, let's get you to bed.

She's tryin' to sleep.

= t think I'll turn in too.

I'm really bushed.





God damn it.


Oh, Jesus.

Earth, soil, wind, food, temperature

and all things relating to them

are all part of an exact pattern

and that pattern is relative
to what we're discussing here.

Patterns intermingled with behaviorism"s.

Now there are symbols of behavior,

that are more basic than
human speech or maybe,

no, maybe mannerisms
would be a better word.


Our little visitor here will demonstrate

what I'm talking about.

T want absolute silence.

What makes a flock of birds or a swarm

of bees take off at
precisely the same moment?

That sense of communication.

And man used to have that gift we're told.

He could talk to the earth
and all the creatures on it.

Somewhere along the
line, he lost the gift.

Well, I hope that proves something to you.

I'll see you all again Wednesday morning

barring another earthquake of course.

= metheim??

Baum, metbaum.

Metbaum, that's it, sure.

You were in bio four
last spring and hated it.

Ti remember.

No, it was bio seven
and I didn't hate it.

I, I just couldn't get
interested in frogs.

You know, I was just wondering that was

a neat trick you did with that squirrel.

Yeah, it's a party tick.

I just wanted to see
if I could still do it.

Well, it's lunch time.

Wouldn't you rather join
me than just stare at me?

I was on the tacker farm last night.

It's on route four.

I heard it on the news.

That's where the quakes centered.


Is there, is there any kind of
an insect that can make fire?

There's a Florida beetle
that scalds its enemies.

No, I mean fire like burning things.

No, not possible.

Well, is there any kind of insect

that just sits there
and let you pick it up?

I mean, it doesn't try to run away

when you start to step on it.

It doesn't do anything
when you pick it up.

It does nothing?

Well, except for burnin'
the shit out of you.

Definitely not.

There's one right there.

Here's one.

God damn!

Were they all this big last night?

Yeah, just about.

= well look at that.

Sure is heavy.

Come here metbaum.

What do you see?

A big black bug.

It has six legs, three body
sections so it's an insect.

It's not a spider or some such.

And the legs are clawed
like a beetle maybe.

Something that cleans.

The spiracles are almost underneath it.

Yeah, I can see it breathing.

I can feel it breathing.

My god, it's got a high metabolic rate.

Well, then how come
it doesn't move around?

= t don't know.

It's powerful, see?

Look, very muscular.


I'll be damned!

It looks like exhaust pipes.

You know something metbaum?

I think we've got ourselves
a six legged boy scout here

because these rear
antenna are very kitenis,

and unless I'm mistaken this little fella

can start fires by rubbing
them together, you know?

Like starting a campfire with flint.

No wait, I thought you said

you never heard of an
insect that makes fire?

= t did didn't I?

Oh no.

Metbaum, take a look.

What's missing from this fella?

You got me doc.

Eyes damn it.

He has no eyes.

He's as blind as a bat.

God damn.

Would you look at that?

It's eating the ashes.

But that's what I wanna
talk to him about, fires.

They're being started by insects.

Perhaps if you'll telephone

at a later date, the mayor will...

By that time the whole god damn city

could be burned to the ground.

I'll bring it to

the mayor's attention as soon as I can.

Yeah, sure.

T doubt if the idiot will believe me.

Just wish I were that sure myself Mark.

Well, we know they
eat carbon of all kinds.

They have no digestive
system, not even a stomach

and they're full of some kind of bacteria

that metabolizes the carbon.

= goes in carbon comes out vitamins.

And I had to use a
hammer to open this one up.

The shell is like steel.

I've tried various
poisons to destroy them.

Well, how 'bout antibiotics?

It paralyzes them.

But after awhile they
fight off the antibiotics.

Nothing works.

I wonder, I wonder if they can breed.

I think they're too sick.

Look, all the interior
tissue's been eaten away.

They just wallow around
in the ash I feed 'em.

But their legs are designed for running.

You know, they should go like lightning.

They can hardly walk.

What puzzles me is how they get from

one place to another to start the fires.

They can't fly.

It's god damn strange.

Well, I hope James gets my note.

He doesn't eat if I'm not home.

Carrie, we really have to hurry.

= t know.

Oh, there he is.

Oh, I'm so glad I didn't miss you.


We're on our way to the tacker funeral

and there's a sandwich in the refrigerator

and some milk and I'll be
back soon and please eat.

Sure, I will.

Hi Sylvia.

Just left Mark.

Hey, why don't we all have
dinner sometime next week?

You and Carrie work out the night, okay?

Oh, good afternoon professor.

Your missus just phoned,

said several windows needed replacing.

Yeah, that's right
Joey, they're over there.


Well, lotsa windows needed
fixin' these last couple of days.

I was in my truck when it happened.

Just managed to pull over when

this bloody billboard comes crashin" down.

My god.

I coulda got killed.

Well, have we much damage here?

No, not much.

Oh, let's see now.

Yeah, it's not too bad.

I'll get my stuff out of the truck.

Mind if I pull into your
garage, make it easier to cart?

Sure, go ahead.

Oh, by the way professor,

I owe you a very big thank you.

That scholarship you got for
Connie turned in very handy.

Hey, she deserved it.

Thanks a lot. = sure.

Well, it won't take me long.

Oh, something wrong with your car?

Not that I know of, why?

Sounds sort of funny like
a nut coming from inside.



Joey, come here.

What's the matter professor?

Get that truck of
yours out of here fast.

Well, I'm not finished.

Well, you can finish later.

Just get it out.

Just get that truck

of yours out of here fast.
Can I give a hand?

No, I can handle it, just leave.

That's it.

God damn.

That's how they travel.

I um, I wanna give you this.

It belonged to your father.

He um,

he gave it to me the night that he uh...

T almost went with him

and your dear brother
that night.

Carrie, I think we should get going,

try to miss that evening traffic.

Is this your older brother?

You look just like your father.

Doesn't he Sylvia?

Oh, a little I guess.

We should get going.

Mrs. parmiter, I think
that traffic's getting heavy

and we better go home.

Come on Sylvia.

We certainly don't want to get
tied up in all that traffic.

They're both unusual people.

I had her husband for bio seven last year.

To prove a point to the class,

he hopped around the room
imitating a frog in heat.

= come on.

She was rather sweet.

Well, what are you gonna
do with all this junk?

A woman always needs extra dishes.

= thanks.

Keep 'em.

I'll take these.

You know, I wish you wouldn't go.

Met could help you find
a job or something.

Oh sure thing Tom,
I'll ask around school.

Thanks anyway but I promised
Chuck winslow's father

I'd get to Fresno as soon as possible.

He needs help badly down there.

What about our farm?

= t don't know.

Sell it if you can.

I doubt if anybody'd buy it.

Hey Tom, are you gonna
take these things with you?

Nah, you can give 'em to your kids met

as soon as you and Norma
ever decide to get married.

I gotta start packin, can
you give me a hand met?

Yeah, I'll be there in a sec.

Well right about now I could use a drink.

How 'bout you?

= t could use more than a drink.

There's a lotta memories here.

Come on met.

You better go.


Get it off, help me!

Get it off!

Get it off of me please!

Get it off, get it off!

= oh!


Get them on the phone.

Operator, get me the
riverside community hospital.

It's an emergency.


She's still in surgery.

Her ear is pretty badly damaged.

They still don't know how
bad her hearing was impaired.

Let's get some coffee.

They'll let us know when she comes out.



That's it.

That's gotta be it.

It's the middle of the night.

Couldn't you wait until tomorrow?

Did anybody do any
tests on atmospheric pressure?

You coulda asked me that on the phone.

Don't you ever sleep or wash?
Tests on pressure,

increasive, decreasive.

I bet they didn't did they?


There's something in a pressure tank.

Well, tonight I saw one of 'em explode.

What are you talking about?

It finally hit me tonight.

Why they're so slow moving,
why they can't mate.

What, pressure?

Sure, they've got the bends.

Look, look, you see?

They have no pressure black to relieve it

and the carapace is sealed airtight.

Now they came from very
deep in the earth, remember?


And I bet you if they
went up another 1,000 feet

some mountain range maybe,

it have exploded immediately

because they can't depressurize.

Why are they so hard to crush?

Well, the shell is supple.

It's... - Coffee?

= no.

It's not brittle and a foot coming down

is just too broad a surface.

But tonight I made it happen because

I used the point of a needle
to concentrate that pressure.

You know something?

I'll bet you that these roaches

are older than anything
walking the earth today.

They evolved exclusively under the ground.

So they must've been trapped
by volcanic activity.

Trapped in a cabin where the only food

was moss, lichen and fungus?

25 to 50 million years?

With a food source like
that why did they come out?

Ross, would you kindly
use that appendage

at the top of your body?

Because the food supply
was exhausted, who knows?

Over population maybe
or some fungus disease

that destroyed the moss.

I mean, why didn't they come out sooner?

Well who says they hadn't?

I mean, what do we know about
the San Francisco earthquake?

San Andreas fall runs down.


A fire.

You have got to be joking.

It's conceivable, it looked like rocks

or something with their legs tucked under

and the same thing happened here.

Nobody noticed them after the quake.

Just think what we're gonna be
able to find out about them.

The pressure they can survive under.

Nervous system.

And if only, if only we could find

some way to make them breed.

What are you talking about?

We know they can't copulate.

They can't breathe.

For Christ's sake you found a way

they're gonna destroy themselves.

They are going to die.

It's all over Jim.



Well, it's late.

Sorry I kept you up Mark.

We'll talk about it some other time.

Hey, Jim?

You look tired
metbaum, getting enough sleep?

= t haven't had much time.

I pulled your record this morning.

You're studying physics.


If I wanted to get a pressure tank,

where would I go except
for the physics department?

Well, depends on what you want it for.

Well, I want something about this size,

you know? - Yeah.

With a window and it should have gages

and some sort of an airlock.

= somethin' like a diver's helmet.


For the fire bugs professor?

Could you build me one metbaum?

You haven't answered my question.

Well, I was asked not
to say anything you know?

Some people may panic.

Well, any other time but
my girl's in the hospital.

I'm going to see her now.

Hey, metbaum?

Isn't she reason enough
to build a pressure tank?


Oh, Sylvia hi.

I was out walking.


How lovely.

Nobody knows it's my birthday.

I've stopped counting.

Oh, no, no, no, no.

Will you tell me what it is?

No, no, no, wait a minute, I'll go look.

Will you stay here and hold on?

Okay, I'll be right back.

Oh, oh Sylvia thank you.

How thoughtful.

I'll go out and buy
some candles right away.

Oh, and I'll make a wonderful dinner.

Would you and Mark like to come over

and help us cut the cake tonight?

Oh, oh good.

Well, how 'bout eight o'clock?

James is working late.

Oh, he'll be so pleased.

Okay, thanks a lot.

Bye, bye.

Smoked salmon shack.


Fried beef snacks, no.

00, chicken mousse.

Pressed or jelly chicken.

Cut and season a four
pound stewing chicken.

Place in a pan with two slices of onion

and a little celery with a small carrot.

Cover with boiling water.

Simmer until chicken is very tender.

And then remove the chicken.

Continue to boil liquid until all remains.

Stem off the fat.

Pour them into large
molds or individual molds.

And perforate bottom and sides.

Remove skin and bones from...



= he's still inside Dr. Ross.

We didn't wanna go in until you got here.

All right, folks step back.

Let Dr. Ross in.

Come on, clear the way here now.

Come on, clear back.

Come on let's go.

Clear out.

Let's go.

Let the professor in.


Jim it's Mark.

Ti can take care of it.

Have 'em wait outside.

Leave us alone. - All right,

all right, outside.

Back up, come on.

Outside, out.

= Jim?

I'm sorry.

Come home with me.

We'll no sooner get
this lab straightened up

and another earthquake comes along.

Carrie was Sylvia's best friend.

Please let us help.

You were right.

It's starting to die.

= die?

Carrie died.

My fault.

Don't do that Jim.

I gonna keep remembering them,

For the rest of my life.

God damn it.

You'll live.

I'll make you live.

September the 12th at two A.M.

I just placed a large male
hustle roach into the tank

to determine if copulation
with the fire bug is possible.

And I've simulated the atmosphere in which

both insects should be able to function.

Maybe he's out.

Yeah, knowing the professor

he'd probably let the phone ring.

You could use some sleep professor.

You know, you look good in a beard.

= I'll fix breakfast.

= you can't come in.

I mean, I'm sorry I
spent the night working.

A book I'm writing.

I need sleep.

Thank you.

Thank you both.

You haven't told anybody where I am?

= just Mark Ross.

God damn it you shouldn't have!

It was your idea to let
him stay here, remember?

It's empty, we'll fix it
up, he can be comfortable.

We'll let him stay as long...
Okay, okay.

Do you think he's all right?

Oh, he's all right.

He just needs some food
and some sleep and a bath.

He doesn't smell too good.

September 16th, four A.M.

The male is dead from the pressure,

but the mating was successful.

I'm about to depressurize
to transfer the egg case.

The fire bug, I'll keep it alive

just as long as necessary.


She wouldn't let me anywhere near it.

That fire bug is protecting the egg case

even though she's under
terrific atmospheric pressure.

It's incredible.

You can almost feel her pain.


The egg should incubate
at sea level pressure.

My god.

September 18th, 10:20 A.M.

The egg case has tripled
in size in just 24 hours.

I wonder, I wonder what kind of creatures

this new generation will be.

I've already decided to name
'em parmiterra Hephaestus.

Hephaestus for the Greek god
of fire, parmiterra for me.

They've become adults in five hours,

and they're a combination of both parents

and are like either one.

Elongated, brownish in
color, with two tightened

clone like projections on their head.

And spotted segments on the back.


Wanna join the family?

= hello.

Oh, hi.

It's either out of order or
his phone's off the hook.

I've been trying to get in
touch with him for over an hour.

Where do you want me to take you to lunch?

Oh, I don't care.

Any place except the cafeteria.

I hope he's not sick.

One if his students saw him a couple

of days ago and said except for looking

like he needed a little
sleep he seemed all right.

Carrie always used to worry about him.

She was afraid he was working too hard.

No, no I'm sure Jim's fine.

You know, I have Carrie's Bible.

Now that's a good reason
to go out and see him.

Sylvia, forget it.

James parmiter can take care of himself.

I'm sure if he needed
us he'd give us a call.

= so that's it.

What are you waiting for?

Get in there.


The parmiters will eat
only raw meat, any kind.

I'm not gonna have enough here
to satisfy their appetites,

I'm gonna have to get some more

but the astonishing fact is that

they will only eat as
a combined single unit.

Come on!

Up, up, up!

The parmiter are sensing
the more powerful.

They seem to know they'll live

only as long as I allow them to.

Today, I noticed that the females

are at last carrying egg cases.

They continue to listen to me,

even to my voice on the
tapes when I play them back.

Now I know it's an irrational thought,

but they even seem to watch me.

And certainly lately they've taken

to forming different sorts of patterns.




You're gonna be...

What are you?

I've gone too far.

The case is...

They must be destroyed.

It's cracked.

I gotta have it fixed.

I'm gonna fix it.

I gotta get it all fixed.

That should be right.

Will you wait for me please?

Don't be too
long, I have another pick up.

Oh, my friend's home.

Will you pick me up in an hour?

You'll have to call the station.

They'll send somebody out.


I've gone too far,

I've gone too far. = Jim?

I've gone too far. = Jim?

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

= Jim?

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

I've gone too far.

= no!


no, no, no!

Oh, oh no!


Where are you?

Where are you?

Hi, has Sylvia been out here?

= no.

Why would she come here?

Well, she said she
might bring Carrie's Bible

out to you but that was weeks ago.

What has happened to you?

Oh, uh...

How can you live like this?

Um, a student of mine
uh, metbaum made it for me

when we were working on pressure,

you remember just before Carrie?

That's silly.

I was, I was working late last night

on my book and I must've fallen asleep

because these damn tapes caught fire

and it must've been because
of the cigarette that I was...

For god's sake Mark,
she did not come here.

Yeah, um maybe she got home.

There's no answer.

What are you afraid of?

Well, I've been out
here alone um, too long.

= come home with me.

No, I can't.

Come back to work at the university.

= no.

Stop feelin' so sorry for yourself.

= god damn it!

You just leave me alone.

Mind your own business.

Hey Mark, I'm sorry.

Please, understand me.

I cannot leave yet!

T willl

I promise.



Look couple of days, okay?

I mean, I'll call, we'll meet.

Oh my god!